"...Always did boss me around" [missing subject]

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zuzanka7

Senior Member
Slovak
Hi there,
I'd like to ask about an example of inversion I've found in J. Klassen's novel The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill.
She (Walter's former boss) said: "Patrick told me I depended on you too much. Is that true? I know a door opened for you when Bill died. But . . . did I push you through it?”
He slowly nodded. “Always did boss me around something terrible...
What is the subject in the last sentence? Does he mean her? Or does he want to say that there's always been someone who bosses him around?
I'm confused.

Thank you for your help!
 
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  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    I'd like to ask about an example of inversion I've found
    There's no inversion in the sentence you've highlighted.

    What is the subject in the last sentence? Does he mean her?
    It's presumably "You," as I take it that the speaker is thinking of her pushing him through the (metaphorical) door as an example of bossing him around. But maybe a greater familiarity with the characters and their situation would change my view.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Yes, I believe he just dropped the "you" in casual speech.

    You always did boss me around something terrible...”

    The "you" is referring to her.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don’t doubt that “you” is the missing word in this case, but would just point out that it’s unusual. With that kind of ellipsis, you’d normally expect the third person: “[He/she/they] always did boss me around…”
     
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